RV Adventure – Two Florida Festivals Not to Miss!

February in West Central Florida is often a bit cooler than other months but it is usually warmer than any other part of the country. This is an ideal time to head south and enjoy some family-friendly fairs including lots and lots of entertainment.

These two favorite events are the Florida State Fair – February 7th –18th, and the Florida Strawberry Festival from February 28th – March 10th. There is no shortage of fun and entertainment at both venues.

First, come and enjoy the Florida State Fair in Tampa – now in its 116th year! Here’s a little bit of its history. The original Florida State Fair began in 1904 as the South Florida Fair on the grounds of the Tampa Bay Hotel, owned by railroad baron Henry Plant. That first fair had simple attractions and was held in a single building on a 27-acre plot adjoining Plant’s Tampa Bay Hotel, where the University of Tampa stands today. This event soon became known as the Florida State Mid-Winter Festival and was the place to be! Families from near and far would come to the festival to play games, eat fair food and win bragging rights for their prized Bull, best pie, or most beautiful quilt.    Florida State Fair

In 1915, the South Florida Fair and Gasparilla Carnival were officially incorporated with the Secretary of State office in Tallahassee. This new Fair became known as the Florida State Fair. Fast forward to 1975 when the Florida State Legislature created the Florida State Fair Authority and designated the Tampa event as the official Florida State Fair. In February of 1977, the first Fair was held at its current location, near Interstate 4 and U.S Highway 301 in eastern Hillsborough County. The 330-acre site sits just seven miles from its original downtown Tampa location. Once it moved to the East Tampa location, new buildings, barns and even the Mildred W. and Doyle E. Carlton, Jr. Cracker Country living history museum were established. The Fair grew – and continues to grow – each year.

This year’s entertainment lineup is incredibly diverse from Amazing Acrobats of China to truck and tractor pulling, to a show featuring Draft Horses, including majestic Draft Horse performances, breath-taking competitions, and seeing a Draft Horse “up-close”.

There’s also a rodeo, several concerts of different music genres, and even an Alligator Show and a giraffe visiting tent. Visit the Entertainment part of their website to see all the featured entertainment.

The Florida Strawberry Festival was started in 1930 by the local Lions Club to help promote the local strawberry crop. Despite a few years off due to World War II, it is still flourishing in eastern Hillsborough County, attracting about 500,000 visitors each year, sometimes even more than those who attend the Florida State Fair.

Central to its focus, the Festival continues to preserve and enhance the agricultural and historical legacy of the Florida strawberry.

But lest you think all there is to this festival is incredible strawberry shortcake, their entertainment schedule features world-class entertainers each year. This year, the 2019 festival begins February 28th, with performances every day of the 11 day long festival with at least two to three shows on many days. In addition to plenty of free performances, you can schedule your trip to the Festival to see Willie Nelson and Family, The Oak Ridge Boys, Alabama, and the Brothers Osborne, Kool & the Gang, and Chicks with Hits, and that is just the first few days they are open.

After that, Pat Boone will perform, followed by Martina McBride on March 4th, and a host of other top-shelf entertainers. Be sure to check out their full entertainment schedule on the Strawberry Festival website.

Wondering how to travel to these two Fairs? Come and bring your RV so you’re already set up for staying as long as you wish in either locale.

You can easily rent one of our RV’s at our Florida El Monte location in Orlando. It is only an hour from there to Tampa and just 40 minutes from Orlando to Plant City. Check out availability for your travel dates on our Where you can Rent RV’s page.

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